Balkan Mountains

Balkan Mountains

name=Balkan mountains (Stara Planina)
other_name= _bg. Стара планина

image_caption=A view from Kom Peak in western Bulgaria.
country= Bulgaria| country1=Serbia|
parent=| border=
geology= granite, gneiss, limestone|orogeny= |borders=
area=11596 | length=530 | length_orientation= west-east
width=15 - 50 | width_orientation= north-south
highest=Botev Peak

The Balkan mountain range (Bulgarian and _sr. Стара планина, "Stara planina", "Old Mountain"). The Balkan range runs 560 km from the Vrashka Chuka Peak on the border between Bulgaria and eastern Serbia eastward through central Bulgaria to Cape Emine on the Black Sea. The highest peaks of the Stara planina are in central Bulgaria. The highest peak is Botev (2,376 m), located in the Central Balkan National Park (established 1991). The mountain gives the name of the Balkan Peninsula. Stara Planina played an enormous role in the History of Bulgaria and the development of the Bulgarian nation and people.

In earlier times the mountains were known as the Haemus Mons. Scholars consider that "Haemus" (Greek " 'Aimos") is derived from an unattested Thracian word *saimon, meaning 'mountain range'.

Stara Planina is remarkable for its flora and fauna. Edelweiss grows there in the region of "Kozyata stena". Some of the most striking landscapes are included in the Central Balkan National Park with steep cliffs, the highest waterfalls in the Balkan peninsula and lush vegetation. There are a number of important nature reserves such as Chuprene, Kozyata stena and others.


In geological term Stara Planina is a young mountain. It is part of the Alp-Himalayan chain which stretches across most of Europe and Asia. It can be divided into two parts: the main Balkan Chain and the Pre-Balkan which follows the main chain to the north.


The mountain is crossed by 20 passes and 2 gorges. There are paved roads crossing Stara Planina at the following passes (listed from west to east):
* Petrohan Pass: Sofia - Montana
* Iskar Gorge (Iskarski prolom ): Sofia - Vratsa (also railroad)
* Vitinya Pass: Hemus motorway (A2), Sofia - Botevgrad
* Beklemeto Pass: Troyan - Sopot
* Shipka Pass: Gabrovo - Kazanlak (also railroad)
* Pass of the Republic (Prohod na republikata): Veliko Tarnovo - Gurkovo
* Vratnik Pass: Elena - Sliven
* Kotel Pass (Kotlenski prohod): Kotel - Petolachka ("Pentagram") crossroads
* Varbitsa Pass (Varbishki prohod): Shumen - Petolachka crossroads
* Rish Pass (Rishki prohod): Shumen - Karnobat
* Luda Kamchiya Gorge (Ludokamchiyski prolom): Provadiya - Karnobat (also railroad)
* Dyulino Pass (Dyulinski prohod): Varna - Aitos
* Obzor Pass (Obzorski prohod): Varna - Burgas, future Cherno More motorway (A3)


* Botev Peak 2,376 m (named after Hristo Botev)
* Vezhen Peak 2,198 m
* Midzhur 2,169 m (the highest peak in Serbia, 12th in Stara Planina)
* Kom Peak 2,016 m
* Todorini Kukli 1,785 m
* Murgash 1,687 m
* Shipka Peak 1,523 m
* Buzludzha 1,441 m
* Levski Peak (named after Vasil Levski)


Stara Planina has a significant and special place in the history of Bulgaria from its foundation in 681. It was a natural fortress of the Bulgarian Empire for centuries and formed an effective barrier to Moesia where most of the Medieval capitals were located. The Balkan mountains were the site of numerous battles between the Bulgarian and the Byzantine Empires including the Battle of the Rishki Pass (759), Battle of the Varbitsa Pass (811), Battle of Tryavna (1190) and many others. In the battle of the Varbitsa Pass Khan Krum decisively defeated an enormous Byzantine army killing Emperor Nikephoros I. For many centuries the Byzantines feared that mountain and on several occasions Byzantine armies had pulled back only on the news of approaching Stara Planina.

During the Ottoman rule many "haiduks" found refuge in Stara Planina. Close to the highest summit, the Botev Peak, is Kalofer, the birth place of Hristo Botev, a Bulgarian poet and national hero who died in the Western Stara Planina near Vratsa in 1876 in the struggle against the Ottoman Empire. Also close to Botev peak is the Shipka Pass, the scene of the four battles in Russo-Turkish War, 1877-78 which ended Turkish rule in the Balkans. Close to the pass in the village of Shipka there is a Russian Orthodox church, built to commemorate Russian and Bulgarian bravery during pass defense.

ee also

* Rhodope Mountains, Rila, Pirin, Dinaric Alps, Šar mountain, Pindus — other major mountain chains in the Balkan region
* Balkans

External links

* [ Regional tourist association]
* [ Stara Planina]
* [ Eastern Stara Planina Gallery]

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Balkan Mountains — mountain range extending across central Bulgaria, from the W border to the Black Sea: highest peak, c. 7,800 ft (2,377 m) …   English World dictionary

  • Balkan Mountains — a mountain range extending from W Bulgaria to the Black Sea: highest peak, 7794 ft. (2370 m). * * * Bulgarian Stara Planina Mountain range, eastern Europe. It extends east to west across central Bulgaria from the Yugoslav border to the Black Sea; …   Universalium

  • Balkan Mountains — noun the major mountain range of Bulgaria and the Balkan Peninsula • Syn: ↑Balkans, ↑Balkan Mountain Range • Instance Hypernyms: ↑range, ↑mountain range, ↑range of mountains, ↑chain, ↑mountain chain, ↑ …   Useful english dictionary

  • Balkan Mountains — mtn. range, Balkan penin …   Webster's Gazetteer

  • Balkan Mountains — geographical name mountain range central Bulgaria extending from border with Serbia to Black Sea; highest point Botev Peak 7793 feet (2375 meters) …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Balkan Mountains — Bal′kan Moun′tains n. pl. geg a mountain range extending from W Bulgaria to the Black Sea: highest peak, 7794 ft. (2370 m) …   From formal English to slang

  • Balkan Mountains — /bɔlkən ˈmaʊntənz/ (say bawlkuhn mowntuhnz) plural noun a mountain range extending from western Bulgaria to the Black Sea. Highest peak, Mt Botev, 2376 m. Also, the Balkans …   Australian-English dictionary

  • Balkan — [bôl′kən] adj. 1. of the Balkan States or their peoples, languages, or cultures 2. of the Balkan Mountains …   English World dictionary

  • Balkan — Balkanite, n., adj. /bawl keuhn/, adj. 1. pertaining to the Balkan States or their inhabitants. 2. pertaining to the Balkan Peninsula. 3. pertaining to the Balkan Mountains. n. 4. the Balkans. See Balkan States. [1825 35] * * * (as used in… …   Universalium

  • Balkan mixed forests — The Balkan mixed forests constitute a terrestrial ecoregion of Europe according to both the WWF and Digital Map of European Ecological Regions by the European Environment Agency. It belongs to the biome of temperate broadleaf and mixed forests… …   Wikipedia

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